In every way,
And forever more
That's how you'll stay.
-Nat King Cole (Unforgettable)
How many things can you say are genuinely "unforgettable"? There aren't that many are there? Or are there? I have compiled a list of 93 unforgettable, inspirational leadership quotes to share with you to encourage, uplift, and inspire you to achieve new heights in your career, leadership and life.
Let me know if you have other leadership quotes that should be added to the list in the comments section at the bottom of this post.
1. Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
2. If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.
— Sheryl Sandberg
3. It’s not what you achieve, it’s what you overcome. That’s what defines your career.
4. Don’t lament so much about how your career is going to turn out. You don’t have a career. You have a life. Do the work. Keep the faith. Be true blue. You are a writer because you write. Keep writing and quit your bitching. Your book has a birthday. You don’t know what it is yet.
— Cheryl Strayed
5. You’ll never make a fortune working for the boss man.
— Jeannette Walls
6. Work to become, not to acquire.
7. Feeling confident – or pretending that you feel confident – is necessary to reach for opportunities. It’s a cliché, but opportunities are rarely offered; they’re seized.
— Sheryl Sandberg
8. I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
9. Your career is like a garden. It can hold an assortment of life’s energy that yields a bounty for you. You do not need to grow just one thing in your garden. You do not need to do just one thing in your career.
— Jennifer Ritchie Payette
10. The worst days of those who enjoy what they do, are better than the best days of those who don’t.
—E. James Rohn
11. Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure it just means you haven’t succeeded yet.
—Robert H. Schuller
12. Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.
13. The best way to predict the future is to create it.
14. Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
—Thomas A. Edison
15. I think everyone should experience defeat at least once during their career. You learn a lot from it.
16. I want to look back on my career and be proud of the work, and be proud that I tried everything.
17. Dreams are extremely important. You can’t do it unless you imagine it.
18. If you can DREAM it, you can DO it.
19. Desire! That’s the one secret of every man’s career. Not education. Not being born with hidden talents. Desire.
20. I can not do everything, but I can do something. I must not fail to do the something that I can do.
21. A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory.
22. It’s not the days in your life, but the life in your days that counts.
23. Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.
—General George Patton
24. Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.
25. Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
26. All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.
27. You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.
28. I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life’.
29. A career is wonderful, but you can’t curl up with it on a cold night.
30. Begin somewhere. You cannot build a reputation on what you intend to do.
31. In fact, there is perhaps only one human being in a thousand who is passionately interested in his job for the job’s sake. The difference is that if that one person in a thousand is a man, we say, simply, that he is passionately keen on his job; if she is a woman, we say she is a freak.
—Dorothy L. Sayers
32. Often people attempt to live their lives backwards, they try to have more things or more money in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are then do what you need to do in order to have what you want.
33. What you’re really supposed to be doing is whatever makes your heart sing.
34. Pitting your dream against someone else’s is a fantastic way to get discouraged and depressed.
35. I determine to render more and better service, each day, than I am being paid to render. Those that reach the top are the ones who are not content with doing only what is required of them.
36. Every time you worry that you could get trapped in some kind of work you don’t care about, you’re dealing with the problem of meaningfulness. I guarantee that in the back of your mind is the thought that somehow you have to make a contribution to something, be acknowledged, do something that matters–or you’re just fooling around.
37. When one door closes another opens but all too often there is a long hallway in between.
38. I was very lucky to be offered a lovely piece of property to build a career on. I started building a house on it, but it wasn’t necessarily a house I would want to live in. So I ripped down that house, and I worked with these great lumberjacks to build a really cool cabin—a place I want to drink whiskey in and hang out until the sun rises.
39. No one can discover you until you do. Exploit your talents, skills and strengths and make the world sit up and take notice.
40. Know the difference between your hobbies and your passions.
41. Follow your passion; Do not get married to it, though.
42. Desperation works in job search as well as it does in dating.
43. Every time you have to make a choice about anything, think Does this go toward or away from what I want? Always choose what goes toward what you want.
44. Be true to what naturally interests you – and be brave enough to turn an obsession into a profession.
45. Some people make enough, some people don’t, and it has nothing to do with their paycheck.
46. If you find yourself in a hole; stop digging.
—Sharon Cooke Vargas
47. If you’re not the hero of your talent story, you simply become a player in one you didn’t choose.
48. Don’t be in a hurry about finding your work in the world for yourself—you are not old enough to judge for yourself yet; but just look about you in the place you find yourself in, and try to make things a little better and honester there.
49. The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.
50. Our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.
--M. Scott Peck
51. If the wind will not serve, take to the oars.
52. Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way.
53. Go where you are celebrated—not tolerated. If they can't see the real value of you, it's time for a new start.
54. Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.
55. The future depends on what you do today.
56. I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.
57. You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
58. Opportunities don't happen, you create them.
59. The harder I practice, the luckier I get.
60. Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.
61. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
62. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle.
63. It is never too late to be what you might have been.
64. Everything I’ve ever let go of has claw marks on it.
—David Foster Wallace
65. Somehow over the years people have gotten the impression that Wal-Mart was…just this great idea that turned into an overnight success. But…it was an outgrowth of everything we’d been doing since …And like most overnight successes, it was about twenty years in the making.
66. There is no passion to be found in playing small—in settling for a life that is less than you are capable of living.
67. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it makes you happy
68. I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all the time.
69. Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.
70. There is only one way to avoid criticism: Do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.
71. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.
72. A mind that is stretched by new experiences can never go back to its old dimensions.
—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
73. Whatever you are, be a good one.
74. Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you too can become great.
75. If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.
76. Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.
77. If you have time to judge other people, you have way too much time on your hands. Get off your ass and do something meaningful.
78. Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.
—Harriet Beecher Stowe
79. Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture the heart.
—Ancient Indian Proverb
80. When the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, it may be that they take better care of it there.
81. The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.
82. The best revenge is massive success.
83. There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.
84. Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
85. Every leader makes mistakes, every leader stumbles and falls. The question with a senior level leader is, does she learn from her mistakes, regroup, and then get going again with renewed speed, conviction and confidence?
86. There is only one way under high heaven to get anybody to do anything. Did you ever stop to think of that? Yes, just one way. And that is by making the other person want to do it.
87. You live in an age when your customer wants everything to be better, cheaper, faster, quicker, smarter, easier, more luxurious. So promise what you can, and then deliver…and then some. If they tell you that your competitor will get them X, then if you can really do it, you tell your customer that you are going to get them X + 2.
88. When you keep asserting that things are going to work out well, that you can do the job, that you will not have a flat tire, that you will get there on time, by talking up good results you invoke the law of positive effects and good results occur. Things do turn out well.
--Norman Vincent Peale
89. Every person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to burn his ships and cut all sources of retreat. Only by doing so can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a BURNING DESIRE TO WIN, essential to success.
90. Strength can make people powerful, influential, and important…But there are things it cannot do. Strength alone can coerce, but it cannot lead.
--John Neffinger and Matthew Kohut
91. The area in which the executive first encounters the challenge of strength is in staffing. The effective executive fills positions and promotes on the basis of what a man can do. He does not make staffing decisions to minimize weaknesses but to maximize strength.
92. Life inflicts the same setbacks and tragedies on the optimist as on the pessimist, but the optimist weathers them better…the optimist bounces back from defeat, and, with his life somewhat poorer, he picks up and starts again.
--Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D.
93. When you set yourself a goal, try to be as specific as possible. ‘Lose fine pounds,’ is a better goal than ‘lose some weight,’ because it gives you a clear idea of what success looks like. Knowing exactly what you want to achieve keeps you motivated until you get there.
--Heidi Grant Halvorson
Bonus Quote: If you can't handle others' disapproval, then leadership isn't for you.
--Miles Anthony Smith